×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lone Star

James McLure's 1978 tragicomic glimpse into the vociferous but stunted lives of two backwater Texas good ol' boys is rousingly staged by Beverly Hills-based Camelot Artists Prods. as the kickoff production of its inaugural subscription season. Helmer Allen Williams doesn't try to instill any insights into this basically uneventful legiter, wisely allowing his excellent three-member ensemble simply to wallow in McLure's infectious wordplay.

With:
Roy - Don Swayze Ray - Michael Petted Cletis - Steve Fite

James McLure’s 1978 tragicomic glimpse into the vociferous but stunted lives of two backwater Texas good ol’ boys is rousingly staged by Beverly Hills-based Camelot Artists Prods. as the kickoff production of its inaugural subscription season. Helmer Allen Williams doesn’t try to instill any insights into this basically uneventful legiter, wisely allowing his excellent three-member ensemble simply to wallow in McLure’s infectious wordplay. Abetting the proceedings is Victoria Profitt’s perfectly trashy outdoor-behind-the-bar setting.

Set in the early ’70s, McLure’s latenight, beer-fueled pas de deux between embittered Vietnam vet Roy (Don Swayze) and his easygoing, mentally challenged younger brother Ray (Michael Petted) does not offer the social insights of “Waiting for Godot.” It does, however, resemble the Samuel Beckett classic in portraying two incomplete souls who must keep talking to one another to prove they’re still alive. The inner workings of these two denizens of Maynard, Texas, are better realized when “Lone Star” is paired with McLure’s companion one-act, “Laundry and Bourbon,” which focuses on the women in their lives.

The action is driven by Roy, who has ritualistically set up the trash-strewn area behind Angel’s Bar as an oasis of solitude, complete with a case of Lone Star beer on ice, an array of junk food and the flags of Texas and the U.S. adorning the discarded car seat that serves as his couch. A former star college athlete, Roy vainly attempts to capture tangible connections to all he has lost, most significantly his fervor for life.

Roy’s attempts to rise above his plight are constantly shattered by debilitating headaches and the callow presence of kid brother Ray, who is too straightforward and simpleminded to play along with Roy’s reverential trips down memory lane.

The vacuousness of Roy’s condition is brought into sharp focus with the arrival of his former school chum Cletis (Steve Fite), the nerdy son of the local hardware store owner. Cletis’ hero worship of Ray’s older brother sets up a sadly comical series of events that strips the already life-enraged Roy of everything he still holds dear. Ironically, even extreme misfortune doesn’t really change anything for this man whose psyche has been crippled beyond repair.

Swayze (HBO’s “Carnivale”) charges through Roy’s plight with vein-bulging fury, tempered by well-executed moments of comedic charm. He lends emotional veracity to this damaged vet, who has no plan for life other than to pop open another bottle of Lone Star. Swayze also possesses a melodious low baritone singing voice that works its way through Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and snatches of other ditties.

Swayze’s Roy is complemented perfectly by Petted’s Ray, an intellectually subpar small-towner who grows to understand he is not inferior to his sibling. Petted impressively reveals each point in Ray’s evolution to the moment at which he can finally confront his brother with the truth about Roy’s beloved wife and pink Cadillac car.

Fite’s totally fatuous Cletis offers a hilarious, much-needed break from the Roy/Ray confrontations. His insipid, inane dealings with Ray offer an awe-inspiring look at a dangerously clueless soul — who will probably make good in his desire to someday go into politics.

Lone Star

Beverly Hills Playhouse; 75 seats; $25 top

Production: A Camelot Artists Prods. presentation of a play in one act by James McLure, directed by Allen Williams; producer, Kristina Kreyling.

Crew: Sets, Victoria Profitt; lights, J. Kent Inasy; sound, David Bartlett. Opened April 9. Reviewed April 10. Runs until May 15. Running time: 90 MIN.

Cast: Roy - Don Swayze Ray - Michael Petted Cletis - Steve Fite

More Scene

  • Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones'On the

    Why Armie Hammer Cooked for the Cast of 'On the Basis of Sex'

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to her hometown on Sunday for the New York premiere of “On the Basis of Sex,” a biopic starring Felicity Jones tells the Supreme Court justice’s origin story. The 85-year-old Brooklynite received a standing ovation when she entered the Walter Reade Theater — a testament to the Notorious RBG’s rock-star status. Ginsburg [...]

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, Magic [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. More Reviews Film Review: 'Vice' Concert Review: Childish Gambino Takes L.A. to Church for 'This Is America' Tour Finale It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s [...]

  • John CenaSports Illustrated Sportsperson of the

    John Cena on WWE's Acceptance by Hollywood and the Professional Sports World

    John Cena says the WWE is finally getting the attention it deserves by Hollywood and the professional sports world. “I’m just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry,” Cena told Variety on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content